The Mumbai campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah Arabic Academy (also known as Jamea) announced by the 52nd leader of the Dawoodi Bohra community, the late His Holiness Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin in celebration of his Golden Jubilee as head of the Dawoodi Bohra Community in 2013, was finally inaugurated at the hand of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Feb 10, 2023. For almost a decade now, the Academy has been functioning from temporary premises while construction was underway on a new, monumental structure nearby.
The Mumbai campus, located in the hills of Marol, is a multi-structure complex covering 850,000 sq ft and can accommodate 700 students and 100 faculty. The campus consists of boys and girls hostels, faculty residences, administration and classroom buildings, a library, a dining hall, a prayer hall, and a building dedicated to teaching the Holy Quran.
There are currently over 600 students at the Mumbai campus, but it has the capacity of up to 700 students. There are approximately 220 female students and a little under 300 male students. Across Jamea’s four campuses globally, there are approximately 3,000 students. There are approximately 160 faculty members and staff at the Mumbai campus.
During the inauguration ceremony, the head of the Dawoodi Bohra community, His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin welcomed the Prime Minister and then he was given a tour of the campus to take him through the history, heritage and educational values of the Bohra community. The Prime Minister then visited the Ceremonial Hall of the campus where dignitaries and members of the Dawoodi Bohra community from India and abroad were seated. His Holiness Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the 53rd al-Dai al-Mutlaq and head of the global Dawoodi Bohra community, thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for joining him on this auspicious day.
His Holiness spoke of the decades-old friendship and bond between the Prime Minister and his respected father Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin. He thanked the Prime Minister for his numerous initiatives for the betterment of the nation, remarking specifically on his presidency of the G20. “India has been our home for centuries, and we are at peace here,” said His Holiness. He prayed that every child in the nation and across the world receives a beneficial education and the opportunity to grow and flourish.” Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that he is not here as a Prime Minister but as a family member who has been associated with this family for four generations.
The Prime Minister said every community, group or organization is recognized by its ability to keep its relevance intact with changing times. “On the parameters of adapting to changing times and development, Dawoodi Bohra Community has proved itself. “Institution like Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is a living example of this”, the Prime Minister said.
Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Eknath Shinde, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Devendra Fadnavis, HH Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, and Ministers from the Government of Maharashtra were present on the occasion among others.
Striking features of the Mumbai Campus
The prayer area is inspired by the al-Jami al-Azhar in Cairo, which was the original location of the Al Azhar University, one of the oldest extant universities in the world. Paying tribute to the Community’s Gujarati heritage, the interiors of the dining halls are a tribute to the ornate Gujarati residential havelis of His Holiness’ predecessors.
The ceremonial hall is embellished with designs from the mausoleum of the 47th leader Syedna Abdulqadir Najmuddin (d. 1885) who was the first to express a desire to establish a campus of Jamea in Mumbai 150 years ago. The multi-level courtyard houses a minaret surrounded by a series of fountains and water bodies.
The Mumbai campus of Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is a testament to the educational legacy of the Dawoodi Bohra community in India. Alongside modern infrastructure, the new campus houses richly ornate spaces of worship and learning that celebrate the Dawoodi Bohra community’s history in South Asia where this knowledge has been preserved for centuries.